I come from generations of clean addicts. When my mother travels, she sneaks a little Ziploc bag containing a tooth brush, Q tip and dust cloths in the car and cleans everything she can reach from her belted position in the passenger seat. She learned this from her father. A few summers years ago, my grandfather and I had the chance to meet up at my parents house and spend some really quality time together. We planted in the garden and got into our usual amount trouble. At the end of our trip, he passed down his little box of cleaning tools to me. It was a simple gesture but I understood the responsibility that came with accepting his gift. The torch/feather duster had been passed.
Now, I believe my mother and grandfather were born with the "clean gene". I was not. I'm an average housekeeper, love the smell of laundry detergent -but honestly, I could care less about the two plates and six glasses in my kitchen sink right now. And my house probably needs power washed. And my car is about three months overdue for a bath.
In efforts to make my family proud, I'm trying to get it together. So I've started my "Getting Clean" period with items I hold closest to my heart: Vintage Clothing!
My wonderful friend Arwen recently shipped me a box containing 37 lbs of gorgeous 1950s and 1960s vintage clothing. Most of it was perfect in every way, but a few things had stains or rust. I picked this gorgeous 2 piece sleeveless, chiffon top and skirt with 12+ rust spots and embarked on my cleaning journey.
Sad little spots:
I ventured to my favorite store ever, ACE Hardware to peruse the cleaning aisle and found some really great products:
One thing I've learned from my family: Tooth brushes are your most important tool! I picked a kids brush for this project because I needed the bristles to be soft enough for the delicate chiffon I would be using it on.
I'd heard really great things about "Grandma's Secret Spot Remover" and after spot testing the skirt, I proceeded to treat the little rust spots per instructions on the package:
Kind of gross, right? Totally looks like my skirt has the measles!
After the first treatment the spots had faded, but were still visible. I decided that the fabric was in good enough shape to let me try the process one last time, here are my results:
The "After" was really hard to photograph, as the results were super light. It wasn't a total success, but it was better than what I started with! In some spots the rust had totally faded, but so did the beautiful pink! The chiffon had also shrunk about 1" shy of the lining.
All in all, this gorgeous pink lady will probably never be fully restored to its original state, but its okay! I absolutely adore it and will be keeping in my collection of "Imperfect Pink's"
While trying to rehab this dress I ran in to some really helpful resources:
Covet and Love It Vintage Fashions
Cleaning Tips for Vintage Textiles
Cleaning and Storing Antique Clothing
Hot Tip from my friend Laura: "Murphy's oil soap is pretty good at getting spots out of vintage clothing and linens. You can make a spray with it for spot cleaning. Read the label for directions. Or cream of tarter made into a paste with vinegar or water."
Feel free to add any great cleaning methods that work for you in the comment section!